Stuart: Daughter cites wisdom, experience, skills, and ‘unparalleled ability to connect’

BRATTLEBORO — I write to endorse my mother, Valerie Stuart, who has served as West Brattleboro's state representative for the past eight years. She and my father, John Mabie, have been inspirations and exemplary role models for me and my brother Ian throughout our lives.

My mother began her service as our state representative on the House Education Committee. During the four years she served on that committee, she and her colleagues passed groundbreaking legislation that is good for Vermont's youth and families, including universal pre-kindergarten, free breakfast and lunch programs; Flexible Pathways Initiative; dual enrollment and early college programs; the Vermont Strong Scholarship Program; non-toxic cleaning products for schools; sports-related concussion safety protocols, and anti-bullying protocols.

For the last four years, my mother hasserved on the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee, which wrote laws that strengthen Vermont's economy and positions our state for a more vibrant future.

Such laws include designation of the Southern Vermont Economic Development Zone, the creation and implementation of an economic development marketing campaign for Vermont; and our state's loan program for first-time home owners. These initiatives will continue to help attract new residents, families, and entrepreneurs, including young people like me.

Some of my mother's fellow legislators have told me her penchant for asking probing questions is one of her greatest strengths as a lawmaker. This is a skill she must have fine-tuned while taking journalism classes at New York University when she was considering becoming a journalist.

Throughout her time in the Legislature, I have seen my mother delve into and lead the charge for legislation on issues Vermonters care about, including poverty, climate change, the need for more effective workforce and economic development, the importance of protecting Vermont's family farms and agricultural landscape, and the need to cultivate our specialty-products sector. In each of these areas, I have seen my mother channel her passion into action.

Over the past eight years, my mother has listened to the concerns of hundreds of Vermonters, including teachers, parents, farmers, business people, disabled individuals, senior citizens, and Vermont National Guard members. She has been their advocate and worked with her fellow lawmakers to improve their lives and Vermont's education system and economy. She also has spearheaded several climate change initiatives, which earned her the recognition this year by Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility as a Climate Change Solutions Champion.

Perhaps most important of all, my mother has an unparalleled ability to connect with people. She has deep empathy for those who are disenfranchised, old, mentally or physically disabled, or alone. She also has stood up for women, children, minorities, and rural Vermonters because she cares.

I encourage you to join me and many West Brattleboro residents and vote for Valerie Stuart. She has the wisdom, experience, and skills necessary to continue to build a better Vermont and a brighter future for all Vermonters.

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